Question: Can a gazebo be a desk? Answer: Technically, I guess. Rod Wave sure makes a strong argument for a “yes” with his debut on NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts. His drummer and bassist occupy a garden gazebo, while Rod, his pianist, and a flautist/saxophonist(!) perform from the grounds just outside. Rod performs songs from his recently released album SoulFly, as well as a quick cover of Drake’s “Over My Dead Body” hook to open the set.
The stripped-down setup allows his voice to get more shine, while he’s able to reflect on the stories behind the songs between each. Singing “Rags2Riches,” “Street Runner,” and “Don’t Forget,” his band adds a fresh dimension to the familiar songs while the addition of saxophone and sweet flute to the arrangements brings out more of the tenderness that has drawn listeners to Rod’s moody trap tunes.
Rod’s shown a preference for outdoor performances that show off the lush Florida environs he came up in; earlier this month, he made his television debut on The Tonight Show performing from a porch overlooking the Everglades. Meanwhile, the overall rollout of SoulFly has been impressively executed, with videos for “Tombstone” and “Street Runner,” as well as a “Street Runner” video game, helped propel his third album to No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Watch Rod Wave’s Tiny Desk Concert above.